The Confucius Institute at Brock University officially opened its doors this weekend.
To mark the occasion, the institute and University hosted a grand opening community celebration. The colourful festivities included Lion Dance, Chinese Gong Fu, Peacock Dance and traditional Chinese instrument ensemble performances, as well as a Fujian Lacquer art exhibit by renowned artist Wang Tianliang.
The event included the unveiling of a two-metre tall statue of Confucius outside Brock’s International Centre where the new institute will be housed. The statue was gifted to the University by its partner institution in China, Minjiang University.
“Twenty-five centuries ago, Confucius was one of the very first visiting international scholars in the world,” said Murray Knuttila, Provost and Vice-President, Academic at the unveiling of the statue. “His advocacy of equal rights to education for all is a very appropriate match for the Canadian value of entitlement of all to education.”
One of about 300 such institutes worldwide, the key focus for the Confucius Institute at Brock is to provide formal certification of Mandarin language teachers in Niagara and communities throughout Southern Ontario. The University has been offering Mandarin language credit courses since 1989.
“We owe it to our own local community to look beyond Niagara, and we are already committed to the concept of a global perspective in a knowledge-based economy,” President Jack Lightstone said. “Being sure-footed and confidently open-minded on the world stage is critical to Canada’s ability to be a leading contributing partner in the global village.”
The key players at Brock behind the Confucius Institute initiative and Minjiang University collaboration include:
- Greg Finn, Vice-Provost and Vice-President, Academic
- Professor Cheng Luo (Applied Linguistics) and Professor Chunlei Lu (Education), co-directors of the Confucius Institute at Brock;
- Professor Tony DiPetta (Education), director, Centre for Continuing Teacher Education;
- Professor Zhongzhi He (Business), ambassador for International Partnerships;
- Ye Yanhong, Mandarin language instructor;
- Sheila Young, director, Brock International.